tv [untitled] October 31, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
am happy to walk you through that, or to make some summary comments or to simply make myself available to questions. whatever the pleasure of the committee is. >> let me just ask you. there seems to be a disagreement about the use of switch backs and maybe you can talk from your point of view why you use them and let's start with that. >> okay. i think in terms of knowing -- we don't get up in the morning and say we have a goal to switchbacks. they're service management technique or tactic to make adjustment to recover from a significant delay and for us, and this is when we talked about the grand jury report when we first were briefed on it our concern was this was a lost opportunity, a lost opportunity to talk about muni service. in other words, what are the things that cause
delays? what are the things we need to be doing to improve on time performance from crew reliability? what are the specific actions? what are the specific things? that's what we wanted to have. the higher the on time performance the less runs that are missed, the less vehicles break down, there is a less of a need for switchbacks. switchbacks are a symptom to us or a tactic, not part of the problem, so when do we use them? we use them when you have a significant break down, delay in service, a delay that might be 15, 20 minutes depending on the line in the headway. most of the switch back review is focused on the rail lines and on the rail line what is we have
done with the help and oversight of the board of supervisors we had three or four different hearings on that we have talked about why we need to do them which is -- with our system -- we don't have express tracks. we don't have the ability to plug extra trains into the system, so that if you had for example out bound train that broke down you have to take care of the out bound people but you need to take care of the in bound people so that requires in our system provides taking that out bound train into in bound train if you're the people and that's when we talk about switchbacks benefiting service and that's what we mean and what we try to do with switchbacks and a number of steps taken to improve it. first of all the first source of complaints is poor communication that riders get on the train and don't know
where it's going. we have done a number of things over the last 12 months. number one, we improved the signage and it matches. we continued to work with our operators to try to improve their communication in making announcement and help and support them from the control center. number two we have, and we monitor closely and we provide supervisor chu a monthly letter on the number of switchbacks, the time of day, and where they occur and how far a train is behind that switch back, and well over 90% of the case there is is a train within five minutes. that's our policy. that's our practice. that's what we're doing n terms of the locations we try to make switchbacks at the end of the line. we recognize and have been candid and up front that switchbacks have an impact. no one wants to do switchbacks but
what for us what we have to weigh is the impact of this opposed to turning a train and helping a greater mass of people going in the other direction. that's the kind of adjustments we're making and whenever possible we make this and the evidence shows that we make the switch bax overwhelming after rush hour and for example in the month of september, and this is in the letter that we have provided to supervisor chu we had 180 switch backs and less than.5% of the service and not everyday you're switching 200, 300 trains. in september 20, 30% happened on september 19 and
20 and those were days we had significant disruption in the subway because of infrastructure problems so most of the switchbacks result from significant delays because of vehicles, sometimes multiple vehicles breaking down or infrastructure and train control or signal issue, those kinds of things or a giants' celebration and have a number of switchbacks for service. >> let me ask you a question. is it fair to ask that the theory for you behind switchbacks and improve for the greater number and implement it and we have heard stories of people pushed off trains early and how generally how you guys approach it? >> yes, i think that's fair. >> so what do you say to the people that are sent off the train early? >> i think a number of things.
first you try to communicate effectively and quickly with them. if the train turn at sunset and not all the way out to ocean beach and let them know as early as possible this train is going to sunset only. then you have -- and you keep repeating that. you let people getting on do that and communicate continually and make sure like we have been doing have a following train less than five minutes behind it and if you're asked to get off and we recognize it's an inconvenience and there is a second train behind it so we're not stranding people. >> okay. a few of the other things. you talk about statistical evidence and alleviating delays and scheduling. do you have any statistical evidence? that's one of the findings. i know
that you disagreed with it. is there emppir cal evidence intrp? >> if we go through september and the switchbacks you have to go through because every one is different, and the relative benefit of the switch back in terms of schedule time -- if you took each of the incidents and walk through them and okay we switch a j line train at 30th and church and had accident at balboa and people ran regular service downtown and each of the incidents we could point to the scheduled benefit was, and you have to look at these things again. these are a recovery technique, so they're not something that we go in and plan everyday and we're going to have 15 -- our target is 15 switchbacks. our target is ten. >> that seems like anecdotal
evidence. did you provide the grand jury with empirical evidence? those are the findings here. i am asking about that. >> like i said we don't agree with that particular finding but if you go down, and we provided substantial amount of information, notebooks, discs, but we are happy to go through each of the incidents and took a particular month, and again took september and 182 switchbacks. here's the benefit to doing them. here's what happened, and also the other point is this is what would happen if we didn't do them. there is the suggestion if we didn't do switchbacks it would result in better service, and i would argue it would be abcasion of our responsibility because we in effect would be faced with a
delay, and we would be in effect doing nothing, allowing a train to go and again not to use the n line, but if you had out bound delay and allow trains to go out and three or four trains at the beach and someone at sun set looking to go in bound and "where is my service". >> but in the long time they have looked at this have you shared the evidence with them? there is a disconnect and they're saying they haven't received anything and you say it exists. >>i am happy to provide a written record of it and go through the fashion we just described and the benefits of the switch backs. >> i don't know if i'm going to ask them that but my question is why isn't this done already? this is the ultimate review of
the report. >> i honestly don't know the answer to that. >> all right. last question around other transit systems and seems another disconnect and other transit systems that use it and they have talked to them and all except san jose, santa clara don't use them so are there other transit systems that you're specifically aware that do and question seems like they never got that information and wanted to ask you about that? >> yes. i can speak to from first hand experience on a couple of those i was the general manager in boston at there and i am aware of the operating practices there, and it's beston and pick the government center and the green line -- several lines go into the green line and trains frequently switched there.
that is just one example. we also reached out after we saw the initial report that said that others did not do switchbacks. we reached out to other transit systems that we listed in our response that owls do switchbacks so again the same caveat. all of the other transit systems will tell you would they prefer not to do switchbacks? yes they would. in some cases, in the case of bart they have tracks and they can do other things but they also do switch backs and schedule them everyday as well, so in our view and base some of our personal experiences and discussions with others, other systems do use switch backs. >> okay. maybe i will ask the grand jury this as well, but from your point of view were these not jurisdictions communicating to them during the course of their investigation?
>> i did not see that until the finding so we were briefed on the findings and they were very open about the findings and they provided -- they were kind enough -- and we appreciate. they gave a walk through of the findings and wrote them up and the walk through that they gave us gave us the opportunity -- they were very professional. it gave us the opportunity to complent and what we said at the time we disagreed i think the first seven of the findings and including that one, and they wrote it up, so in terms of the communications i think both parties were clear -- they were clear on what their findings were. they communicated orally and wrote it up later. we in turn had the opportunity to respond and we wrote what we told them. >> okay. all right. thank you. president chiu any questions? thank you very much. i appreciate it.
>> [inaudible] >> my apologies. i am john hailey and the director of transit operations. >> thank you. john. i can -- can i have a member of the grand jury back up. there is back and forth here and now a comment from the mta they're willing to provide the evidence. i am wondering if you ask for the evidence and not provided in the course of the investigation. >> the evidence he is talking about is not the evidence we asked for. i believe he is now saying that he would be happy to give us some kind of list and description of all 180 switchbacks in every month and then we could read about each switch back and determine for ourselves whether that was a good thing for the system or
not, and our opinion that is not a statistical study. that's not a comparison in anyway. that's just a description of all the switchbacks with a subjective opinion as to whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, and he may have offered us to do that, but we decided that would have been perhaps a thousand switchbacks we would have to read about and make up our minds whether they were a good or bad idea. in other words, this is not a professional -- they haven't made a professional study of whether these switch backs were advantageiacy to the system in any way, whether they sped up or slowed down the system, or disadvantaged to the passengers. they haven't done any study on the impact to the passengers? . >> okay. thank you and in terms of the different jurisdictions and how they use switchbacks or they don't -- >> here's what we found.
mr. hailey says he was in boston until 1995. that was one of the first systems we interviewed. we asked them about switchbacks used as a tool to regulate the system. we're not talking about responding to emergencies. all the systems have a whole switch back policy that they use. most of them call it a turn around. i'm not sure why we're kiewlg it a switch back in san francisco, but they have policies for turn arounds. they only use them in an emergency. not to smooth traffic. not when buss and trains are clumping and the person in boston was the one that said his passengers "would never stand for it". i don't know if san francisco passengers are more complacent than boston passengers but he said that and they would never do it. >> okay. did you guys talk to
all the other people and their response? there was a list in the jurisdictions and portland and philly -- >> those we didn't talk about -- talk to. we asked repeatedly when talking to muni officials which other systems they would recommend for us to talk to, which other systems used it? we ask if were books or manuals or anything they could give us that showed that switchbacks were a best practice tool which they had said. they said they were going to increase using switchbacks because they were such a good tool. we asked them if there was please a manual or something that we could read that described how switchbacks were used as a tool and they said "no". we asked if there is another system we could talk to and they said "no". >> all right. thank you. >> thank you. >> president chiu. with that i
appreciate everyone's comments and responses. before we close item one in the hearing and get to the responses i want to open it up to public comment. any members of the public that wish to comment on item three? you may line up on the wall. mr. pillpal. >> and i just realized i wore my boston shirt. prior to serving in boston john was the deputy general manager at bart and has worked in other cities as well so his transit management experience is considerable, and i just wanted to note that. i will just add a couple of things. i think john hailey covered many of the points. the one management is overall topic how to keep service on time. switchbacks are a technique in line management. i think the real key issue at mta is actual
transit operator staffing and when they have fewer than they need there are problems with filling runs and having to make other adjustments so i think keeping operator availability at a high level, highering and training on a regular schedule is critical to running muni effectively. just as antidote last night after the game i was downtown. there was a lot of joy and celebration, but there was also a lot of muni delay that was unanticipated, unanticipatable. i understand that trains were stranded on the embarcadero. that power had to be shut down for safety reasons. there were a lot of services that had to get rerouted. that happens. in a city like this and moves like muni does and the
traffic and the incidents that happen line management is a critical thing and switch backs are a regularly used tool. operations, planning, supervision, all have a role to play. as a final example going through both of the districts and one california where there is a delay downtown or somewhere in route if all of the vehicles are allowed to proceed out to geary and 33rd at outer terminal there would be more delay and impact in bound for the passengers waiting at california, at fillmore, at other locations and why the system is designed with locations to switch back at fillmore, at presidio, at sixth avenue and that happens when necessary, no more than system, so i'm sorry in this case i think the grand jury didn't get
get it. >> thank you very much. any other members of the public wish to comment? seeing none public comment is closed. >> [inaudible] >> i'm sorry. >> exactly what we was referring to we brought that up with the other systems about -- well, there are fewer passengeros the out bound than the in bound and every single one of them said they solved that ahead of time by scheduling so they make short runs in the center area where the city has lots of travelers and then they make other longer runs and they make fewer longer runs and short runs and announce it ahead of time and the promise to the passengers is met. thank you. >> thank you very much. any other members of the public wish to speak on this item? seeing none public comment is closed.
supervisor chiu can we table item three? all right. next is item four and asked to respond to the findings and recommendations from the grand jury report. i want to them them for their time and effort into this, for the mta and their responses. i think from my perspective and the use of switchbacks -- i get it's a management tool. we have to be nimble here in san francisco and i have heard from resident s and the incredible frustration when they don't understand this is happening and the delays and so forth so i think there are competing interests here. i don't think -- i don't agree with the extremeos either side of the debate so to speak, but with that why don't we go through all the items. so for the finding number one and violate the spirit of the san francisco charter. i will say partially
agree here. i think it can put both ways. i think reliable you want the majority of people to have reliable muni service here but as well when they're kicked off early or don't see the bus come their way and i hear that and happens in my district and i'm going to say partially agree. number two and muni management express little interest in the alternative of switchbacks. i will disagree with that. it's not something they want to do but within the tool and arsenal so i would not say that they express little interest. i think they understand there is push back when these happen. there is no statistical or other evidence that switchbacks aleveiat delate or scheduling? i would agree there. it seems more than any grand jury report we seen lately
there is quite a bit of disconnect and i don't ever whether it's cooperation or another issue and i think that is unfortunate and you need to comply with the civil grand jury and i am going to agree with finding three. finding four, muni officials show calious disregard with the riders and i am going to disagree with that. i think that is inflammatory and i appreciate where you're going but i don't agree with that language. number six, other systems and passengers and switch backs and other than reasons of emergencies and accidents and whether we agree partial leo disagree partially. i. >> >> say agree partially and
there are time when is they don't use them and they listed jurisdictions that according to them use switchbacks so i imagine the answer is in the middle and i suggest we partially agree. number seven and the improvements in the system and i will partially agree. i know they work hard at this. they want to do it -- like many of the other city departments is fiscally constrained in their budget and it's something we couldn't see on a day-to-day basis here in city hall and i witnessed here while on the board with budgets getting cut so i suggest that we agree partially there. finding number eight muni's advance control center lack operating personnel and can't communicate with muni drivers. simply agree. nine and muni has failed to publish rider surveys as
recommended in the quality review and also agree with finding number ten. as far as the recommendations go. recommendation number one and eliminates switchbacks for equipment break down or accidents or unavoidable accidents. we have no jurisdiction over the mta, the board of supervisors recommendation two and learn from systems that don't resort as switchbacks for the solution. my understanding is that will be implemented in the future and the controller's office is engaged in a multi-year effort to improve services and like was mentioned and the tep and the reconstitution of that. number three and determine the funds if
additional funds are available and they do that and in selection of contracts and number five and surveys fiscal year 2008 and 2010 quality review recommendations. as with recommendation one this is not within our jurisdiction to improve or implent or the board of supervisors. as far as our response goes we will say will not be implemented. this is under the jurisdiction of the mta and not us as the board even though we would like a say in the matter. president chiu those are my find disbltion that is fine. while this isn't an issue that affected by district three constituents as much i have heard the concerns and i want to thank the civil grand
jury for looking into these practices and i agree with supervisor farrell and ask that the mta eliminate these practices look to other jurisdictions for best practices and minimize the practice and explicit guidelines when switchbacks might be justified but the incredible frustration of passenger who is are put into difficult situations when they experience switchbacks certainly i echo the sentiments to look at this practice and make sure it doesn't happen. >> thanks president chiu and before we approve the resolution i would like to open it up for public comment. any members of the public like to comment? seeing none it is close. president chiu. >> i make a motion to recommend the recommended actions. >> okay. and we can do that without objection. madam clerk are there any further items?